I just returned from Virginia where Blushing Books hosted their first (hopefully of many) author conference. Author Bella Bryce did a wonderful job organizing the conference and I had the pleasure of meeting in person many online friends: the Blushing editor Virginia and owners Bethany and Jim Burke, Sue Lyndon, Dinah McLeod, Kathryn Blake, Courage Knight, Mary Wehr, Patty Devlin and Breanna Hayse as well as get to know some I hadn't really interacted with before: Virginia Rue, Mark S. R. Sterling, Joannie Kaye, Carrie Amsel, Kallista Dane, Georgia St. Claire, Saoirse Roghan, Eve Spire.
The conference was a "family-friendly" affair and because my husband is still out of state, I brought my kids along. Blushing bent over backwards to accommodate them--Bethany found a babysitter, Courage Knight bought them a bag of activities and Victoria brought a DVD player. They had a ball with all the green expanse, ponds, frogs, mushrooms and other things we don't have here in the desert.
The conference consisted of some wonderful sessions: Bethany spoke on Amazon's algorithm. She emphasized the importance of an eye-catching cover, longer, keyword rich blurbs and a bit of luck. Victoria gave a great presentation on characterization, then Patty Devlin gave an entertaining overview of branding ourselves and our books through social media. Later, Courage Knight gave a wonderful discussion on editing, which the English major geek in me adored. On Sunday, Bethany gave us a great workshop on plotting using the 15 story beats from screen writing as well as some very useful plotting charts. We also looked at covers, discussing what works and doesn't.
Overall, it was a delight--I am so glad I went!
Here's a photo of Sue Lyndon and I!